Tigers ready for new season
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
During a year when nothing is guaranteed, Troup High head coach Tanner Glisson has made sure to enjoy the ride.
For nearly three months, Glisson was unable to meet with his players face-to-face because of the Covid-19 restrictions.
That changed on June 8 when teams were permitted to begin summer workouts, and the Tigers have been hard at work since then preparing for a season that was originally supposed to begin on Aug. 21 but will instead start on Sept. 4, assuming nothing else changes.
“You’ve got to enjoy the process,” Glisson said while watching his players go through the paces in the school’s new indoor practice facility. “Enjoy what you’re doing today.”
Glisson is, though, eager to lead his players onto the field for a football game, and Troup will get an opportunity to do that on Sept. 4 at Harris County.
Had the calendar not been changed, Troup would be playing Harris County this week, and it would have already played two preseason games.
Instead, the Georgia High School Association canceled the preseason games, and the start of the regular season was pushed back two weeks.
“We’re kind of in that lull right now,” Glisson said. “You don’t want to beat them down too much. You’re kind of caught in no-mans-land at the moment. We’re trying to keep it light, and trying to mix it up and keep it short and sweet, and just do some fun stuff and yet still get some work done. We’re in a good spot right now.”
Glisson, who is in his sixth season as Troup’s head coach, doesn’t feel the need to try to do too much.
“Our coaches, and the staff has been together for a while now,” Glisson said. “I imagine in other places it’s different. There’s an unknown. We feel good about where we are, but you won’t really know until that first Friday night.”
The program is no doubt in a much different place than it was when Glisson arrived before the 2015 season.
That first year was a mighty struggle for Troup, which went 1-9 and needed a win on the final night of the season to avoid a winless record.
Troup enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in 2016, going 8-3 while finishing second in Region 5-AAAA to eventual state-champion Cartersville.
Troup went 9-3 in 2017 and beat Heritage in the first round of the playoffs before losing to St. Pius X 43-35 in a second-round thriller.
That led to a memorable 2018 season when Troup went 12-2 and reached the state semifinals before losing to Blessed Trinity 51-35.
Troup set a program record for wins in a season while making it to the semifinals for the second time ever, and for the first time since 2001.
Last season, Troup went 6-5 and finished fourth in the region, and its season ended in the first round of the state playoffs with a loss to Blessed Trinity, which went on to win state for the second straight year.
The Tigers are hoping to keep their winning ways going this season, and Glisson likes what he’s seen, even though there are some significant holes to fill because of graduation.
Among the players who’ll need to be replaced is all-state quarterback Kobe Hudson, who was signed by Auburn University and will likely play as a freshman.
There are plenty of talented players returning, though, and some gifted newcomers are ready to make an impact as well, including freshman quarterback Taeo Todd who will likely be under center for the opener.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but I like the makeup of it,” Glisson said. “It has potential to be a really good team. We’ll see if we can progress every day, and see if we can stay away from the injury bug.”
Because of the recent success, Glisson knows that the Tigers won’t be flying under the radar, regardless of who they’re playing.
“For a couple of years now we’ve probably had a bulls-eye on our back, but that’s OK,” Glisson said. “That’s the position we put ourselves in.”